JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The city of Jackson closed out 2018 with the highest homicide rate per capita in the city’s history, according to data from the FBI, Murder Accountability Project and U.S. Census Bureau.
In addition, the number of killings over the course of the year ties what the Capital City documented in 1993, ranking third overall. Only 1995 and 1994 had higher homicides, with 92 and 91, respectively.
The city’s mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, responded to 3 On Your Side’s data by disputing some of it.
“The city is deeply concerned about the growing homicide rate, and while it is not the highest rate that the city has seen, it does represent a significant jump in recent years,” Lumumba said. “What we are looking at is the data that suggests that over 70 percent [of] our homicides are based on interpersonal relationships that have broken down.”
Jackson’s homicide rate for 2018 stands at 50.3 per 100,000 people, meaning it’s also one of the highest in the nation, worse than New Orleans, Memphis, and even Detroit.
That rate is more than twice Chicago’s homicide rate, too, meaning you’re twice as likely to get killed in Jackson as you are the Windy City.
We looked at 24 different cities with more than 150,000 people to see where Jackson ranked: third, below St. Louis and Birmingham.
The numbers themselves paint a picture of mostly younger Jacksonians killed by a gun.
Our compilation of JPD data shows more than 90 percent of the city’s killings involved a firearm.
Nearly sixty percent of those victims were between the ages of 19 and 35.
Most of these homicides -- 37 percent -- happened in Precinct 3, which is west of Interstate 55 and north of the Jackson Zoo.
Precinct 4, northeast Jackson, stood out as safest in the city.
Only 11 percent of last year’s killings happened there.
Perhaps the most surprising fact: nearly twice as many women were killed in the Capital City last year than 2017: 15 victims versus eight the year before.
What does it all mean?
Lumumba elaborated in his written statement to WLBT.
“People are finding permanent solutions to temporary problems and that is why we are supporting and encouraging things such as our violence interruption training, because we cannot simply police it,” Lumumba said. “We can’t be in someone’s home when they decide to have an argument with their cousin. We can’t be in someone’s home when husband and wife have a dispute that leads to a violent conclusion.”
The city’s mayor also said JPD solves a greater percentage of crimes than the national rate.
Documents from JPD provided to 3 On Your Side indicate a 62 percent clearance rate, three percent higher than the national rate.
“Once these matters take place, we are solving the crime and putting people behind bars. But instead of merely focusing on the what, we must turn and focus on the why and what is encouraging these things to take place,” Lumumba said. “There is a number of initiatives the city will continue to take on to not only address how we react and respond to crimes after they take place, but more importantly, how we affect the conditions which lead to it in the first place.”
3 On Your Side presented some historical homicide data to JPD spokesperson Roderick Holmes and Chief James Davis and asked for an interview or statement for this story.